Stephen Thompson Stephen Thompson is a host, writer and reviewer for NPR Music and Pop Culture Happy Hour. He appears frequently on All Songs Considered and NPR newsmagazines.
Washington, DC - May 03, 2016: Stephen Thompson CREDIT: Matt Roth
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Stephen Thompson

Matt Roth/NPR
Washington, DC - May 03, 2016: Stephen Thompson CREDIT: Matt Roth
Matt Roth/NPR

Stephen Thompson

Writer/Editor, NPR Music and Host, Pop Culture Happy Hour

Stephen Thompson is a host, writer and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist and guest host on All Songs Considered. Thompson also co-hosts the daily NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created with NPR's Linda Holmes in 2010. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)

In 1993, Thompson founded The Onion's entertainment section, The A.V. Club, which he edited — alongside duties as The Onion's copy editor — until December 2004. In the years since, he has provided music- and pop-culture-themed commentaries for NPR programs such as Weekend Edition, All Things Considered and Morning Edition, on which he earned the distinction of becoming the first member of the NPR Music staff ever to sing on an NPR newsmagazine. (Later, the magic of AutoTune transformed him from a 12th-rate David Archuleta into a fourth-rate Cher.) Thompson's entertainment writing has also run in Paste magazine, The Washington Post and The London Guardian.

During his tenure at The Onion, Thompson edited the 2002 book The Tenacity Of The Cockroach: Conversations With Entertainment's Most Enduring Outsiders (Crown) and copy-edited six best-selling comedy books. While there, he also coached The Onion's softball team to a sizzling 21-42 record, and was once outscored 72-0 in a span of 10 innings. Later in life, Thompson redeemed himself by teaming up with the small gaggle of fleet-footed twentysomethings who won the 2008 NPR Relay Race, a triumph he documents in a hard-hitting essay for the book This Is NPR: The First Forty Years (Chronicle).

A 1994 graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Thompson now lives in Silver Spring, Md., with his girlfriend, their three cats and a room full of vintage arcade machines. (He also has two adult children who've headed off to college but still call once in a while.) Thompson's hobbies include watching reality television without shame, eating Pringles until his hand has involuntarily twisted itself into a gnarled claw, using the size of his Twitter following to assess his self-worth, touting the immutable moral superiority of the Green Bay Packers (who returned the favor by making a 22-minute documentary about his life) and maintaining a fierce rivalry with all Midwestern states other than Wisconsin.

Story Archive

Tuesday

Monday

Beyoncé accepts the award for best dance/electronic music album during the Grammys. Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for The Recording Academy hide caption

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Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Friday

Wednesday

Has the screenlife format of the new thriller 'Missing' gone stale by now?

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"The crowds chasing us in A Hard Day's Night were based on moments like this," McCartney writes. "Taken out of the back of our car on West Fifty-Eighth, crossing the Avenue of the Americas." Paul McCartney/1964: Eyes of the Storm hide caption

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Paul McCartney/1964: Eyes of the Storm

Tuesday

Michelle Yeoh received a best actress Oscar nomination for Everything Everywhere All At Once. A24 hide caption

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A24

Shelley Long and Ted Danson in Cheers. Alamy Stock Photo hide caption

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Alamy Stock Photo

Friday

Storm Reid stars as June in Missing. Courtesy of Screen Gems hide caption

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Courtesy of Screen Gems

Thursday

Alan Cumming hosts the Peacock reality competition show The Traitors. Peacock hide caption

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Peacock

Wednesday

Keyla Monterroso Mejia and Lisa Ann Walter on Abbott Elementary. Mejia is one of the people we're pulling for. Gilles Mingasson/ABC hide caption

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Gilles Mingasson/ABC